Author Archive

Darker My Love – Darker My Love

August 8th, 2007

Feel the Darkess

Darker My Love was born when two longtime friends, Andy Granelli (The Distillers) and Tim Presley (Nerve Agents), decided to take a break from their successful punk bands to venture into overdriven rock. Rounding out their lineup are Jared Everett on guitar and Rob Barbato handling bass and sharing vocal duties with Presley. Fans of Granelli and Presley’s previous punk ventures won’t find any of that energy carried over here. Dreamy layers of reverb, rocking guitar riffs and echoing vocals that drift above the songs like clouds mark this as a complete departure from their prior efforts. And they pull it all off with a level of skill that betrays the band’s “side project” status. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

Feathers – Feathers

August 7th, 2007

Flock Together

In the psych-folk revival of recent years, an artist can go two ways: either taking the stripped-down singer/songwriter approach (think Devendra Banhart) or pulling together a group of like-minded individuals to contribute to the instrumental and vocal tapestry (like those pioneers of psych-folk The Incredible String Band). Feathers, emerging like faerie-folk from the mountains and forests of Vermont, definitely fall into the latter camp. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

Sabertooth Tiger – Extinction is Inevitable

April 4th, 2007

All Teeth, No Bite

From LA has emerged many a Sabertooth Tiger specimen—the prehistoric felines’ fossils from the La Brea Tarpits and now the politically-charged rock band from the city’s music underground. With their debut Extinction is Inevitable they hope to draw the connection between the demise of their namesake and the course that the human race has set for itself. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

Isis – In the Absence of the Truth

March 5th, 2007

Egyptian Goddess Seeks Crimson King

Isis and rising-star producer Matt Bayles continue their partnership with 2006’s In the Absence of Truth, the band’s most ethereal and exploratory release to date. Traveling along the trajectory set by previous releases, Isis builds upon its post-metal foundations and begins to explore their more progressive side. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

The Melvins – A Senile Animal

February 12th, 2007

Alzheimer’s Assault

In an era when many bands find it difficult to still sound fresh by the time they reach their second record, the Melvins return to drop their twentieth studio album, (a) Senile Animal. New blood helps revitalize the long-running core team of King Buzzo and Dale Crover: Jared Warren, filling the revolving door bass player position, and drummer Coady Willis, both of power-stoner duo Big Business. While Warren fills the void left by recently departed bassist Kevin Rutmanis, Willis is by no means here to threaten the drum stool of Crover. Instead, the two combine forces to create an explosive wall of percussive fury that serves as the foundation of this mighty sonic skyscraper. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

Venom – Cast in Stone

December 14th, 2006

Grey Metal

Venom, the venerable godfathers of black metal, are unique in the genre they’ve spawned. They just won’t die (or even get sentenced to life in prison). While there are few similarities between the original Sons of Satan and the waves of protégés who have made “black metal” a buzz word associated with church burnings, make-up, and murdering bandmates, Venom were the first to coin the phrase. In the early 80s, the term described their previously unheard style of dirty, lo-fi thrash metal centered around themes of depravity and evil. And while they never took themselves too seriously (nor did the music critics), their early offerings started a legacy to which every metal band since owes some small debt. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

Bardo Pond – Ticket Crystals

October 16th, 2006

A Good Place for Fishing

Making their debut on a self-released cassette back in 1992, Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond has since been a vehicle of experimental discovery for its members. With their newest offering Ticket Crystals, the band toys with sounds both soft and loud, drawn out over the course of 8 tracks that serve as mile markers between each exploratory jam. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

The Adolescents at the Trocadero, Philadelphia PA

September 14th, 2006

In 1981, 5 teenagers from Orange County came together and recorded one of the most influential American punk albums of all time. The band dubbed themselves The Adolescents, a fitting name for their snotty, hyperactive style of music. Their self-titled “blue album” exploded them onto the scene, only to see the band break up a year later. Over the years, different incarnations of the original lineup have tried to resurrect that original energy and intensity that went into their first record, with mixed results. Now, 25 years later, The Adolescents have reformed and re-released their phenomenal debut and are touring in support of it. I was lucky enough to see them when they recently came through The Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Editorials

Motörhead – Kiss of Death

September 8th, 2006

Whisky Kisses

Like an unstoppable locomotive fueled by booze and speed, Lemmy Kilmister and company are back with a new album that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Kiss of Death runs the gamut of heavy metal, rooted in the classic Motörhead sound that’s been carefully crafted over 23 albums. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews

Year Future – First World Fever

September 6th, 2006

Feed a Cold, Starve a…

After a slew of EPs and a successful European tour with noise-mongers The Locust, LA’s Year Future has emerged with their debut album First World Fever. Merging a punk backbone with an experimental edge and biting lyrics dripping with political commentary, Year Future’s first offering is saturated with influence from other West Coast bands ranging from System of a Down to the Dead Kennedys. Read more…

By Steve Mangione Posted in Reviews